“The lower the stakes, the more intense the dispute.”
The narcissism of minor differences
Bitcoin and the crypto world have had a phenomenal decade. Despite the fact that Bitcoin is arguably the most disruptive technology to the status quo since the printing pressthe powers to come have left us alone. Sure, exchanges are required to implement KYC measures, there have been a few dark market arrests, China has banned Bitcoin a few times, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission went after some ICOs. But these regulatory responses are the bare minimum, the same rules are applied to the very scary antiques market.
For ten years we have been largely left to our own devices enjoying the unprecedented luxury of an average growth rate of thousands of percent. To be extremely successful, you just had to buy some bitcoin and then do nothing. In fact, you didn’t even have to, you could have chosen the cryptocurrency you would buy by throwing darts while drunk and blindfolded and you would still have seemed like a genius to buy XRP.
So we did what people always do when they are free from real problems – we turned against each other. Bitcoin hated Ethereum. BCH hated Bitcoin. Monero hated Zcash. And everyone hated Ripple. We have driven away the hours of our idyllic era of innocence by taking to Twitter and telling people to “have fun staying poor … idiot”. It felt important.
There are undoubtedly important differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum, for example. There may also be a very real sense in which they compete with each other. While we didn’t have more significant issues, the rivalry and its intensity may have made sense.
End of innocence
This tribalism will soon come to a very sudden end. Bitcoin and crypto have become too big to ignore. Leviathan stirs. Even in the minds of the most unimaginative of bureaucrats, the realization is dawning: “This is not a toy, this is not a millennium fad. This is our control over the monetary and financial system that these kids are looking for … “
Monero is being withdrawn from the stock exchange. A Ethereum Core Developer and the BitMEX CTO have been arrested. The Travel Rule will be specially adapted, just for us. In the US, in Europe, in Israel and soon everywhere, you must disclose your crypto holdings, not just when you sell, but always.
“First they laugh at you, then they ignore you, then they fight you …”
Congratulations everyone, they are getting ready to fight us. No more pretendies. This fight will be forever. Are you ready? They say you can’t fight town hall. Well, what about fighting a global coalition of nations with nuclear weapons and interpol at its disposal that can set the financial rules along the way?
We’re going to need every ally we can get, even if they’re imperfect shitcoiner.
New Battle Lines
It’s actually worse than that. The ones closest to us will be the ones who turn the knife. For ten years now, we have entrusted our funds to exchanges and rely on them as our in and out. We also prayed that this would be the “year of the institutions.” Well, the exchanges have built massive companies that they now have to protect. They have shareholders to whom they are accountable. They have expensive legal licenses that were expensive to purchase and easy to lose.
Coinbase is going to have an IPO. Squatting has become a bank. Banks were an invention of the free market. They have been co-opted into a quasi-arm of the government and have become the main enforcers of the financial supervisory state. How long will it take for Kraken to have its tentacles in your finances, operating under the instructions of the regulator? How long will it be before we start to see all those institutions we have called upon to digest crypto companies in an orgy of mergers and acquisitions?
If you imagined that institutions becoming interested in Bitcoin meant lobbying on our behalf, then you were wrong. They lobby on behalf of their own interests: to be mandatory intermediaries, who must approve every transaction and are willing to make an effort. The exchanges that have served us so well over the years, that brought us great convenience in exchange for the simple fact that we had to manage our keys – these exchanges managed by Bitcoin OGs – are no longer our friends. The age of innocence is over.
Together we will overcome
Nothing unites a community like a common enemy. However big the observed differences between the different crypto strains may be, they pale in comparison to the gap between us and the nocoiners. At the moment we live in a nocoiner world. A fiat world of central authorities, financial supervision and crony capitalism. The nocoiners have the power as standard. We must choose to unite or to make them succeed through a strategy of divide and conquer.
The success stories of the great underdog have always prompted revolutionaries to put aside their differences and unite. The bickering Greeks came together to defeat the Persians and defend their democracy. England’s competing houses stopped their fighting and forced King John to sign the Magna Carta. The states of America forgot their ideological and religious differences, defeated the Red Coats, and gained their independence.
This hour is calling us to unite. While I am sure we will have a hard time doing that, I am confident that as the battle lines become clear, we will take the opportunity and focus on the mission we have in common. This is why I am excited to see projects like Sovryn and TBTC; mission-driven projects, true to our trustworthy values, bringing the worlds of Bitcoin and Ethereum together.
The higher the stakes, the more intense the need for unity.
At the Hot Gates, the Spartans were surrounded and massacred. At Marathon, however, they stood shoulder to shoulder with their nemesis, the Athenians. That day, free men won a victory for freedom that we take advantage of to this day. Not even the Spartans could HODL alone.
This is a guest post from Edan Yago. The views expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.